TEXES 232 social science instruction

Terms in this set (20)

Bias is a preference for a particular perspective, without the ability to see a different perspective. Every piece of historical writing—primary or secondary—contains bias. Bias does not necessarily discredit a source, but it is important for a student to be able to identify bias in an article so that the student can incorporate that into his understanding of both the source and the historical event.
Bias can usually be categorized into one of the following:
• Framing Bias- Framing bias is when an author presents, or frames, an issue
that affects the way the reader perceives it.
• Confirmation Bias- Confirmation bias occurs when a person seeks to confirm
what he already knows, without consideration to evidence which might be
• Negativity Bias- Negativity bias occurs when the focus of a piece focuses only,
or predominately, on the negative aspects without regard to positive aspects.
Political speeches or political cartoons are often used as primary sources on tests. While these pieces are inherently biased, they also provide invaluable insight into the attitudes and beliefs of the time period. For example, in 1945, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech to Congress in which he asked for a declaration of war. Roosevelt, of course, had strong anti-Japanese sentiment. He also had been waiting to join the war effort for quite some time. Both of these factors influenced the request he made of Congress, as well as the way in which he justified the request.
• Step 1- Ask a Question- Before teachers or students can start researching, they should know what they would like to find out. For example, a student might ask: What were the causes of World War I?
• Step 2- Do Background Research- After an initial question is formed, it is important to research available information about that question to develop an understanding of the context of the question and to determine what sources are available to help answer it. In this phase, the student should rely primarily on secondary sources.
• Step 3- Refine/Narrow the Question - After conducting background research, students should then refine their initial questions based on what they have learned. For example, a student may narrow his question to: What were the political causes of World War I? Or how did the formation of alliances lead to World War I? The student might also find that his initial question uncovers additional issues to research. Instead of the causes of World War I, the student may decide to look at the rise of the Black Hand in Serbia.
• Step 4- Gather Evidence- Once students or teachers have clearly defined the scope of their research, they should begin finding relevant information. It is important to find a range of evidence representing a wide variety of types (letters, charts, graphs, speeches, etc.) and perspectives. It is best to start with primary sources and then review any existing secondary sources. (If a student is having a hard time identifying primary sources, a good teaching technique is to have him find a secondary source and begin inspecting the primary sources referenced by the secondary source).
• Step 5- Analyze the Evidence to Form a Claim- Once all of the research has been completed, students should analyze the evidence to see how it helps them answer questions. The response a student then creates to his question is called a claim or a thesis. It is important that this is based directly on the evidence.
• Step 6- Present the Thesis for Review- Once the thesis or claim has been created, the student should articulate his argument either in writing, as an essay or paper, or as a speech or audio-visual presentation using PowerPoint or other presentation tools. It is important that the student is able to explain to others his thesis and how it is supported by evidence.